Middle East Cruise News

Contractor goes public with restoration work on laid-up QE2 in Dubai

After months of speculation regarding a gradual increase in activity aboard the Queen Elizabeth II in Dubai’s Port Rashid, Al Shafa Construction company has finally gone public with details of the project.

According to a ‘Current Projects’ listing on the company’s website, the ‘QE2 Restoration’ is a multi-year project involving more than 30,000sqm of space.

This equates to around half of all the available floor space aboard the ship, so Al Shafa may only have been contracted to restore her public rooms and passenger cabins.

According to the project description, the company was brought in during August 2015 to begin work and will complete the project in August this year, with 110 people currently working on refurbishing the ship.

The new information comes following years of uncertainty regarding the fate of the former flagship of Cunard Line. QE2 was purchased by the investment arm of Dubai World in 2007, with plans for her to be made into a floating hotel on the Palm Jumeirah.

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The crash of 2008 scuppered those plans and she was kept in Drydocks World in cold lay-up for several years, before being repositioned to the adjacent Port Rashid last year.

At the end of 2015, just before she was moved, the chairman of DP World had insisted in an interview with Cruise Arabia & Africa that she would not be scrapped and that there was a new plan for her.

Then in late 2016, plans were announced for Port Rashid to be redeveloped as a retail and lifestyle destination, with its cruise terminals incorporated into a grand mega-development that would include the region’s largest marina.

A DP World official has indicated that QE2 will be a centrepiece of the new development as a floating hotel and events venue, but an official announcement to this end has not yet been made.

It is worth noting that Al Shafa Construction is the same company leading the redevelopment of Mina Rashid into a cruise port and marina, and was previously contracted by DP World for the construction of the new Cruise Terminal 3.

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